Constituents Quiz Olson on Cafritz, East Campus, M Square

The District 3 councilmember addressed several key development topics Monday at Plato's Diner.


East Campus, transit-oriented metro development, and the Cafritz project were all hot topics at Monday morning's coffee chat with Prince George's County Councilmember Eric Olson’s (District 3), held at Plato’s Diner in College Park.

East Campus

 The construction of the development know as East Campus—a 39-acre parcel of land located at Paint Branch Parkway and Route 1—has once again been put on hold.

The site was conceived to be a town center for students, including graduate student housing and a grocery store. The University of Maryland’s first shot at developing the property fell through in 2009, and recent efforts to build the property out in two phases have been delayed.  

“For the time being, they are pulling back,” said Olson, who said he does not necessarily see this as a bad thing. 

In the meantime, Olson said, UMD will be taking a look at the surrounding community and parts of downtown in need of revitalization and redevelopment. 

Metro Development

Olson also spent some time talking about the need for more transit oriented development in District 2, particularly around the two metro stations, College Park and New Carrollton.

“If we are going to get more jobs and housing where people don’t need to get in their cars, we need to do that around Metro stations,” Olson said. 

over the next few years, he said. A developer has an agreement with the Washington Metropolitian Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to build a hotel near College Park, said Olson, along with about 300 units of apartment housing to help support M-Square jobs and hopefully to bring in more retail development.

“We’ve got to stop talking about transit oriented development and get it,” said Olson.

The Cafritz Development

Olson briefly touched on the Cafritz development. He did not support the project for many reasons, Olson said, chief among those being a lack of transit options at the location.

He explained how the the Prince George’s County Planning Board staff recommended that the project be “disapproved” by the planning board for failing to meet several conditions.

This ultimately led to Calvert Tract, LLC withdrawing its preliminary plans from consideration at the Jan. 17 planning board hearing.

However, late last week, lawyers for the developers sent a letter to the board announcing their intent to refile the plans. Exactly when that will happen is still unclear. 

College Park Academy Charter School

Part of a partnership between the city of College Park and UMD, the College Park Academy Charter School is set to open at St. Mark’s in Hyattsville next fall.

Once at full capacity, the school will teach grades six through 12 and give students the opportunity to graduate with not only a high school diploma but also an associate’s degree.

The St. Mark’s location, said Olson, is only temporary. The school has signed a two-year lease at the location while the city and UMD look at buildings in College Park as potential sites.

“We’re still working on where it will finally land,” Olson said.

Cynthia harris February 05, 2013 at 11:42 PM
East Campus development on Paint Branch and Route1. Very bad idea, need to fix route 1 traffic probelms first. It is even worst when there are basketball and football game. Before you talk about development work on the the traffic at that intersection.
R. J. February 08, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Eric Olson is the biggest impediment to these development projects. That's why the projects keep getting "stalled" and "pulled back." You need less of an environmentalist and more of an economic development mindset in your representative.


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